ArticlesCustomer Service

And The Difference is... Attitude

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I returned a rental car at an airport yesterday. As the person who was going to check me in approached, he smiled (which shocked me) and said, "Hello Mr. Galler," which shocked me further as I don't have a clue how he knew my name ? obviously there was some way of identifying my car, and therefore me, at a distance. "How was your trip; was everything OK with your car?" he inquired in a friendly, personal tone. "Everything was fine I replied" "Great ? I hope we'll see you back soon. There is some bottled water in the cooler over there for you" he said as he directed me towards the shuttle bus to the terminal.

As I made my way out of the facility, two more staffers greeted me, not in the impersonal manner of an automaton, but as if they really cared whether I had a good experience with their product, that they sincerely wanted me to return.

As I sat on the shuttle bus I considered my experience. Their product and price is about the same as their competitors. Why should I choose one car rental company over another? Simple, their attitude!

They impressed me with their attitude ? one of caring service, friendliness, helpfulness, and respectful courtesy. I noticed that corporate attitude on a trip over a year ago and have used this company a number of times since. I will continue to use them when I need to rent a car assuming they continue their wonderful attitude and competitive value.

Where does that attitude come from? It must be intentional, starting with top management. Certainly it doesn't come from each individual employee because I have observed the same attitude at other branches of the company and I have seen an opposite attitude at many other competing companies. That positive, friendly, helpful attitude has to come right from the top. They intentionally hire people who can express that attitude, they train them to deliver that attitude, and that attitude is shown at branches throughout their system. Customer loyalty based on their service and their attitude is growing the company. Your company can do the same if your management starts with an intentional attitude that makes the difference.

Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, "Front Lines with Larry Galler" Sign up for his newsletter at

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